This month's ArkLetter is synchronous with Fall's New Moon in Scorpio, and All Saint’s Day in the ecclesiastical calendar. Before the tradition of Halloween took hold, this was anciently seen as a time when the “veil between the worlds” would thin, admitting a bit of cross-pollination between the quick and the dead.
Bereft families would
seek out oracles to enquire about the circumstances of their recently
deceased members, and necromancers would stage their most fearsome
rituals, like Orpheus or Dante, harrowing the halls of Hades.
Modern spooks and bogeys are not missing from the scene. As the moment's news so perfectly mirrors, we are collectively watching as a crisis of political wars, pollution and eco-disturbance is gathering around us. Our government is coming unzipped, and an energy-crisis we have spent thirty years ignoring is ramping up. The message rings out loud and clear that it is time to heal the imbalances and abuses that civilization and its attendant evils are wreaking upon the global village and the global habitat. That which has been foreseen but still unplanned is now arriving.
Because I am in the Pacific Time zone, the New Moon hits exactitude just as the sun/moon are setting in the western sky. Every New Moon is a chance to start over, and in this case, it is the Scorpio function that is being rebooted. Many modern astrologers have emphasized sexuality and secrets with this sign, forgetting about the historically ancient attribution of Scorpio to the bowels (lower intestine and colon). In truth, the provenance of the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio have always been a little murky due to the medieval lack of understanding regarding various inter-pelvic functions. For purposes of these articles, I am assuming that the Virgo functions serve metabolism and assimilation, the Libra functions serve relationship and bonding, and the Scorpio functions serve elimination and poison-control.
This event appears in the 6th house from my angle, overlapping the values of 6th house organizational and sustainability concerns with Scorpio's need to separate the living the waters from the toxic wastes. The presence of Jupiter with the New Moon only exaggerates and expands upon the impact of this small but powerful cluster of influences. Combining the symbolism of all the parts, it seems as if a secretive but highly concentrated dose of something toxically unhealthy has made its way into the bowels of the collective organism, and the consequences can no longer be suppressed. This could be understood in a physical sense (the influence of certain chemicals from the plastics industry affecting the fertility of all mammals globally), a psychological sense (the fact that in 1st-world nations the number of people with diagnosable personality disorders is somewhere near one in five), or in a political sense (the institutionalized corruption and cronyism spilling out of the White House). At every level from the personal to the global, this New Moon invites us to "get real and clean up our act".
The figure dominating this chart takes a bow-tie or hourglass shape, with all the planets on the ascending side of the chart (Neptune, Uranus, and Mars, including North Node) within the measure of a square, the outer edges of which throw crossed oppositions to the descending side. There, a mirroring square takes in the group of Saturn, Jupiter and the New Moon. There are only three planets not encompassed within this bow-tie figure, all of them in Sagittarius; namely Mercury, Pluto and Venus. Perhaps those planets will have a special role in this chart's interpretation.
One thing for sure -- this bow-tie figure is a much more prickly version of the crossed oppositions we saw last spring with the Mystic Rectangle (having sides made of trines and sextiles). This figure is all about coming awake fast, often under stressful conditions. Adding to the feeling of crunch time is the fact that the planets at the mathematical four corners of the figure take stations in the fixed signs; New Moon in Scorpio squared to Saturn in Leo, both of these opposed to Mars in Taurus and Neptune in Aquarius. Fixed signs resist change no matter how worthy the cause. Hence we are looking at a picture of irresistible forces (Sun, Moon and Jupiter) pummeling immovable objects (the Fixed Square), with unpredictable consequences for all involved.
The primary opposition in this bow-tie figure is the New Moon opposing Mars retrograde (quite near the ascendant in my slice of the world). This aspect suggests a chance for proactivity based on intuition and good sense. Mars in Taurus offers guiding feedback from the body's innate wisdom as well as its reservoir of educational experiences from the past. Since Mars is retrograde right now, this is a great time to look over past lessons and winnow out the helpful memories you carry, those that can assist you in making sound decisions right now.
Of course, the benefits of hindsight are greatest for entities that are open to growth and change. This might rule out political parties, religious bodies and other large institutions that have grown out of scale for the needs that they serve. My sense is that the challenges being represented are collective, but the awakenings have to be personal for them to be effective. Luckily in this case, the intuitive and body-knowledge component of this opposition is increased by the fact that Uranus in Pisces is sending a quintile to Mars and a trine to the New Moon, jazzing them both with creative and catalytic bolts of the genius/chaos that is Uranus' natural energy. Uranus is not very comfortable in Pisces, but it’s still delivering a jolt to the collective Unconscious, into the dreamtime so to speak.
Uranus' retrograde period (since June) is due to end in the middle of November, so whatever tension has been generated during the drawback will be released with interest after the 15th of November. By adding such sizzle to both sides of the pivotal Mars/New Moon opposition in the chart, the chance for Uranus to provoke an awakening or shock experience is fairly high. (We must only hope that it doesn't take yet another regional disaster to serve as the tipping point....)
The second opposition in the bow tie is that of Saturn in Leo to Neptune in Aquarius. Here we have Saturn's disciplinary and deflationary influence putting a damper on self-serving Leo, inducing a "shrink the ego" effect. This promises a positive trend, if those who are moved to respond have not already over-leveraged themselves on a bet that the future will be forever abundant. Those who are sensible enough to respond to Saturn's urge to downsize now, who accept this invitation to become more modest in their expectations, will be rewarded by not having so much to lose when the pipe-dreams of the past give way to the harsh realities of the future.
It will be important for each of us to listen carefully to our interiorized parental figure, if indeed we can access a wiser, older, more experienced part of ourselves who can unwind us from our habits of over-consumption and wastefulness. In my observation, it is always easier to accept and enact necessary cutbacks when we have willfully chosen them, rather then when they are imposed upon us by galloping circumstances.
This aspect is not yet exact, but when Saturn catches up to perfect opposition with Neptune, there might be a comeuppance due to those who ignored their inner voices. Long before that happens, however, Saturn will go retrograde the 22nd of November, and will remain so until the 1st week of April 2006. At that point it has to make up the "bent" degrees, after which it will put itself into position to consummate with Neptune at the end of August 2006. Those who have short attention spans might fail to make the connection between choices enacted now and consequences nearly a year later. No matter -- Neptune will at that point be retrograde again, therefore likely merciless about "outing" our double standards and castles in the clouds.
Here's a second stress-family aspect that ties a lot of energy together in this chart, one that taps into the opposition between Neptune and Saturn from the Saturn side. This one brings the Venus in Sagittarius into the picture, though through reasons of irritation rather than pleasure. Rising from the Saturn to the New Moon is the square I mentioned above, being one side of the bow-tie pattern. Further following the flow of the zodiac into Sagittarius, and we find Venus making a near-perfect semisquare to the New Moon. Therefore the aspect back from Venus to Saturn is a sesquiquadrate (square and a half).
I tend to think that the semisquare and sesquiquadrate aspects represent critical interior dialogue, rather than overt external stresses bearing in on us. Therefore I feel as if the Venus in Sagittarius is looking back over her shoulder in scorn and disapproval, muttering "too little, too late" and kicking Plutonian sand into the faces of the New Moon and Saturn. Our collective high-minded and social-visionary ideals, treasured by Sagittarius, refined and embellished by Venus, condemn us to admit that we fall far short of our true potential, again and as usual. How shall we reconcile who we are with what we should be? This is an occasion wherein the presence of shame, self-criticism and guilt might actually serve as a corrective force, rather than a self-esteem glitch.
Mercury is the orphan of this chart, in that its only "official" aspect is its square to Uranus. There's not a lot of new information here except for perhaps an addition to the overall breakthrough/breakdown energy from the relationship side. Mercury operates as if there were no consequences for wheeling and dealing, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and other little shortcuts we indulge in to keep a smooth overall appearance as we juggle incoming and outgoing resources. Another subtle Mercury aspect is the quintile to Neptune, tending towards leaning on "magic" and "unseen forces" when practical steps are not making themselves available. Add these two influences together, and we see an impatient tendency to gloss over necessary details at the worst possible time, leaving the door open to “accidents” that turn out to be less magical than inconvenient and embarrassing.
There are certainly times when the helping hand of the Tao reaches down to assist us, but it is important to notice that such things usually happen *after* we have extended every normal human effort possible to achieve what we are seeking, before we ever ask for miracles. I would caution that living with the uncritical assumption that "it's all good" is not recommended at this time. It would be better to question our magical thinking and toss out the seductive but hollow expectations that lull us to sleep with the refrain "it will all come out in the wash". (Anybody who has thrown a pair of new red high-tops into the wash with their denims can recall how well that theory works!)
There are two rather unconventional figures in this chart that capture my attention. The first one is a triangle of septiles between Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune. The long side (biseptile) runs between Jupiter and Neptune, with Pluto at the midpoint in Sagittarius, linked in to both sides. I see septiles as a karmic aspect, in that they seem to highlight dynamics from outside the limits of this incarnation or this flesh-and-blood, time/space reality. The fact that two of the three planets involved are also Outer Planets (invisible to the eye, outside the orbit of Saturn) also strengthens this impression. This triumvirate suggests that a critical (and possibly toxic) mass has been reached relative to the Earth's ability to absorb and transform the wastes of our human activities. This is not to devalue Earth's ability to persist as a living, life-filled planet; I do not for a minute think Gaia is powerless in the face of her human infestation!
Rather, we might be approaching the point when human unconsciousness must cease, and the next wave of accountability and rapid response must sweep the globe. One arena in which we are seeing this happening is the way the internet is weaving us all closer together by bridging cultures and erasing isolation even as it opens access to the global marketplace of ideas. I have not always been a fan of the idea that humans can "invent our way out of the mess we are in", but perhaps with the help of these three planets tied together in just this way, we can remember, resurrect, and/or recall other ways we have lived on this Earth, other kinds of relationships we can have with nature, with each other, and with the life force itself. Think of this aspect picture when you pray to the collective Oversoul -- may our individual efforts towards awakening be redoubled and multiplied by every other souls' effort, until a seamless intention is formed among all sentient entities to grab ourselves by our bootstraps and rise!
The final unconventional aspect picture is a Quintile trine that includes Pluto, Uranus and Mars. I am so grateful that this picture is made up of quintiles, a very creative, playful, and experimental family of aspects (72 and 144 degrees). Otherwise, the sheer explosiveness, volatility and unpredictability of these three planets being wired together at this New Moon might be scary! Pluto and Uranus (outer planets again) are both in mutable signs right now, so they are not attracting very much attention to themselves in an overt way, preferring to operate at the fringes of consciousness like secret agents. Their tripwire is the Mars, in the fixed sign of Taurus, who is loitering around the ascendant area waiting to see who will be his lucky catalyst. I'm concerned that this aspect might leave the situation open for a prankster or a-moral inventor to upset some aspect of the global economy with the fruits of his "creativity" -- think of the European teenager who recently set a vastly expensive and disruptive computer virus loose in the world just to see what would happen, for example.
This is a kind of Pandora's box situation, where once the lid is opened everything in the box flies out, no matter what the consequences might be to the future. In the myth of Pandora, she is said to be the one who released all the bugs, bats, and various vermin that now plague the world. It also must be granted, however, that in her fateful act were also released all the pollinators that make Nature fertile, as well as the vast and countless hordes of creatures who tidy up every day and dispose of all unclean wastes of the world.
Let us not scorn the tiny things, the humble things, and the invisible background things that go about their business away from the spotlight of our attention. Whether it's the germs of the Avian Flu virus traveling on the wings of migrating wildfowl or the microorganisms being used to clean up oil spills, we must remember that there is no protection left for us in ignorance. Our best strategy in times like this is to stay awake, take more responsibility, and try to learn from what's going on around us. Everything is changing every day, and the future requires the collective attentiveness of all of us together to bend the current chaos into healthy growth and sustainability for all.
That said, may your New Moon be revelatory, wisdom inducing, and healing, and may the coming month carry your dreams ever closer to realization.
Research: Esoteric Tarot, Literature and Practice;
Publisher, The Tarot Arkletters
Bishop, Gnostic Church of St. Mary Magdalene
Founder: Tarot University;
Author: The Underground Stream;
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